Embracing the Future: Exploring the Features of Joomla 5
The advent of Joomla 5 heralds a new era for web developers and site managers, as it promises a suite of enhancements, optimisations, and fixes that streamline website creation and management. As we delve into the new features and improvements, it's pivotal to appreciate the developmental strides and transformations from Joomla 4 to Joomla 5.
These are more than just code!
What's new under the hood?
Let us take a quick look at the main changes from Joomla 4.4 to 5.0
Then we can go through the other changes that make Joomla better than ever.
Dark Mode in Administrator: Joomla 5 boasts a more refined dark mode, not just for users but also for administrators.
Web Assets and Caching: Many improvements to the web asset caching
Schema.org Integration: Automatic activation of Schema.org data for organisation and site names enhances search engine optimisation.
Code Optimisation: Speed advancements are noticed due to automatic source code optimisation through the phpcs fixer.
PHP & Bootstrap Updates: Improved compatibility with PHP 8+ and an update to Bootstrap 5.3.2 ensures that the platform remains contemporary.
User Interface: Enhancements in dark mode for the Atum administrator template and the new Joomla modal window for select buttons promise a smoother user experience.
Tools & Plugins: The TinyMCE editor gets an update to 6.7 with added image alignment features. Several scheduled tasks have been moved to scheduler plugins, enhancing system performance.
Media Management: AVIF support in the media manager and the ability to exclude archived content from smart search indexing improve media handling capabilities.
Menu sorting: Allowing you to sort the menu in the way you want it.
Enhanced Security: Events have been migrated to their classes, and the removal of no longer functional Recaptcha plugins boosts security.
Modern Technologies: Internal code restructuring focuses on utilising more modern APIs. There's added JS Import map support for Web Asset Manager and deprecated fixes for php 8.2.
Extensions & Compatibility: Joomla 5 introduces Fontawesome 6.4, Codemirror 6, and has updated its Webauthn Library. Notably, Joomla now requires PHP 8.2, MySQL 8.0.13+, MariaDB 10.4+, and PostgreSQL 12+ for optimal performance.
Cleaner Code Base: Joomla 5 places a strong emphasis on code cleanliness. The transition from older APIs, removal of es5 support, and other heavily coded cleanups ensure the CMS runs efficiently.
That is what we can expect code-wise, but let us step back and look at some of the ideological changes that have really added to the professionalism behind the production of Joomla.
It is an Upgrade and not a Migration!
One of the main changes this time is that Joomla 4.4.x to Joomla 5.0 is NOT a migration; it's an upgrade.
This break from the past is thanks to a backward compatibility (B/C) plugin, which moves a lot of the code needed if you have extensions that are not J5-ready.
If all your code has been converted to J5 compatible, then the plugin which is on automatically when you upgrade to J5 can be switched off. This will make your site run faster and more efficiently, taking advantage of more modern PHP functions.
You can find more help and information about the upgrade process in the docs
We did it in 2 years
When Joomla 4.0 came out there was a push to make some changes. We were bold and published a time frame with minors every 6 months and majors every 2 years. After feedback, the release dates were moved to run from April to October, but the principle of smaller, more frequent changes continued, and although scary at times, we have managed as a community to pull off what was thought impossible and stick to all the release times giving certainty to developers and the wider community.
It was bold, and all who have worked hard to achieve it need to be applauded, as it wasn't easy, and there were a lot of negative comments at times, which people had to work through.
More people able to release Joomla
The whole process of a single release leads to moving to pairs of release managers for each minor version, opening the whole process up to more of the community.
We have worked hard at eliminating the single points of failure that we had in the past. Having different pairs of release managers also means they have a manageable term and can really put their all into the release, knowing that it will not be a forever job but part of a chain of improvements. They will have time to recharge their batteries.
Post-release now has a process
There is a process to release a new major/minor and also a post-release process which checks the quality of the rollout and has a points-based system to help the CMS team mitigate any issues that might unfold.
Again, it has shifted from a few people who had to make a spur-of-the-moment decision and would have had limited experience of such a situation to a collective knowledge system which has been tested against past experiences to help inform it.
All of this adds up to a professional and experienced release system that is really safeguarding the future of Joomla and making it easier for those involved to maintain.
Pain points that are left
We need to work on testing and the tone of everything in GitHub. It is open to the world to see but still can be a battleground to get ideas in and voices heard.
It is often the first time someone enters the world of pull requests and the strictures of code standards, so more tutorials and better moderation of language and sentiment would undoubtedly help all those who contribute, old and new, feel valued and appreciated.
We need to bring more fun into contributing and drive away any fear or misunderstandings.
Huge strides so far and more to come
There is a renewed emphasis on documentation and also on bringing back in-person meetings and Pizza Bugs and Fun events on a more regular basis.
This always helps to push development as well as friendships further and faster. There is not only a roadmap of all the release dates for Joomla 5 and the release managers that will take over the reins of each release but also some idea of the significant features that will be part of them. Joomla development is more active than ever, and with this clean and modern code base, it will hopefully attract new and past extension developers to use it to express their ideas and build new products.
The whole community can be proud of what has been achieved with Joomla 5, the discipline to make it happen on time and the sheer work ethic to achieve it.
Now it is the turn of all of us to do our bit to get the message out, shout about Joomla 5 and let everyone know we have a CMS to be proud of! #joomla5